An Environment Effects Statement (EES) has been released for the North East Link Project and is now open for public submissions. The EES includes information on how the project could affect the environment during construction and operation and how adverse impacts would be managed.

Planning approvals for major projects in Victoria are often informed by an EES. An EES is the state’s most rigorous impact assessment process. It gives decision makers such as the Minister for Planning and EPA Victoria the information they need to determine whether approvals should be granted and what conditions should apply.

The EES for North East Link describes the existing environment, identifies potential positive and negative effects during construction and operation and proposes ways to avoid, minimise, offset or manage any significant effects.

We’ve been listening

While preparing the EES, we talked with people across the project area to understand their ideas, issues and concerns to reduce project impacts. The EES exhibition period now gives you a chance to have your views considered as part of planning approvals decisions for North East Link.

North East Link will be a new freeway-standard connection between the M80 Ring Road and an upgraded Eastern Freeway. It will complete the missing link in Melbourne’s metropolitan ring road and give the city a fully completed orbital connection for the first time. The project includes Victoria’s longest twin road tunnels, Melbourne’s first dedicated busway along the Eastern Freeway and new walking and cycling links.

What’s in the EES?

The EES for North East Link has information about a reference project, including:

  • how the project has been developed and assessed
  • an overview of the potential effects
  • Environmental Performance Requirements or EPRs that define the environmental outcomes that must be achieved during construction and operation of North East Link
  • 18 technical reports on topics such as traffic, noise, air quality, ecology and social impacts
  • a map book showing drawings of the reference project assessed for the EES and an Urban Design Strategy that will help ensure the project is designed and built to high standards.

Also on display is a Works Approval Application for the construction of the tunnel ventilation system and a draft Planning Scheme Amendment.

What is an Environmental Performance Requirement (EPR)?

The North East Link Project is committed to minimising negative impacts on communities and the environment.

EPRs set out the minimum environmental objectives and outcomes the project must achieve across design, construction and operation.

The EPRs have been developed as part of preparing the EES and are included in the document so you can see how they would be used and applied to manage impacts.

The EPRs are still in draft stage. In considering the EES and submissions the independent inquiry will recommend if changes to the EPRs are needed to better avoid, manage or mitigate impacts.

The reference project assessed in the EES is not the final design for North East Link. The project builders will be encouraged to make improvements but must meet all the requirements set by the EPRs.

Step 1. Understand how the EES is structured

The EES includes a summary report and a main report as well as technical reports and attachments. Each has a different level of information to make it easy to get information quickly, or dive deep into the detail.

1. Summary report

Read the Summary Report if you’re looking for a short outline of key information in the EES and a broad overview of the project, potential effects and how we propose to manage them.

Tip: We recommend you read the Summary Report first.

2. Chapters

If you’re interested in a comprehensive summary of the findings from a particular study topic, chapters will help. Each chapter is around 40-100 pages long and written in language that is simple to understand. There is a chapter for each topic.

3. Technical reports

If you’re interested in detailed information about the study method used for each of the 18 study topics and want to read about the findings in depth, this information is included in the technical reports. They have been prepared by specialists for each study topic and range from around 150-1000 pages.

4. Map book and attachments

This is where to find the Map Book showing the reference project assessed in the EES. It's also where to find the Urban Design Strategy, information about the project's approach to sustainability, a copy of the Works Approval Application and draft Planning Scheme Amendment and information about how feedback from communities and stakeholders has informed the EES.

Step 2. Choose your topics of interest

  • Transport
  • Vibration, ground movement and contamination
  • Environment
  • Air quality and noise
  • Community
  • Heritage

Step 3. Get the details

Transport

Traffic and transport

Assesses potential impacts of North East Link’s construction and operation on traffic, freight, public transport, cyclists and pedestrians along the project corridor and across the wider region. It uses transport modelling to predict changes across the network and provides specific information on key routes and areas of local interest.

Vibration, ground movement and contamination

Tunnel vibration

Assesses vibration and regenerated noise impacts from tunnel construction and operation that could impact amenity, buildings, utility assets, or operation of sensitive equipment.

Ground movement

Assesses potential impacts of ground movement from tunnelling on land stability, natural features such as river banks, hills and swamps, buildings and structures including gas lines, sewers and other utilities.

Contamination and soil

Assesses potential human health, environment and amenity impacts associated with disturbance of contaminated soil and groundwater encountered during construction and operation. Outlines the proposed approach to management of spoil from tunnel construction.

Environment

Arboriculture

Assesses potential impacts to planted trees and outlines an approach to replanting and restoring tree canopy.

Groundwater

Assesses potential impacts on groundwater levels and quality including potential ecological impacts.

Surface water

Assesses potential impacts on surface water quality and floodplain function.

Ecology

Assesses potential impacts on native flora, fauna, habitat and ecological communities.

Greenhouse gas

Assesses CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation that could contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Air quality and noise

Air quality

Assesses potential air quality impacts resulting from dust, odour and emissions during construction and evaluates changes in air quality associated with emissions from the ventilation structures and surface roads in relation to EPA Victoria standards.

Surface noise and vibration

Assesses potential effects of surface noise and vibration during construction and operation, including impacts on residences, kindergartens, schools and aged care facilities, and identifies example mitigation measures that have informed development of EPRs. This section also applies relevant noise standards to guide the selection and design of noise treatments (such as noise walls).

Human health

Assesses potential effects on the health and wellbeing of the local community. It considers changes in air quality, noise and social aspects and looks at how these could impact human health.

Community

Land use

Assesses changes to current and ongoing land uses and consistency with strategic planning policy

Business

Assesses potential direct and indirect impacts on businesses, including from permanent land acquisition, temporary occupation and other changes during construction and operation.

Landscape and visual amenity

Assesses potential effects on the landscape and visual environment, including temporary or permanent changes to visual amenity

Social

Assesses potential positive and negative social impacts during construction and operation, including changes to amenity and character, community cohesion and access to places such as schools, community and sporting facilities and open space.

Heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Assesses potential impacts of construction activities on Aboriginal cultural heritage places and values, considering Aboriginal heritage sensitivity.

Historical heritage

Assesses potential physical and visual impacts on the fabric, setting or character of heritage places, objects and values.

Comment on the EES

The EES process gives you the opportunity to have your views considered in planning approvals decisions for North East Link.

You can get involved by making a submission to an independent inquiry and advisory committee which will be appointed to review the EES and public submissions.

Submissions must relate to the information and topics covered in the North East Link Project EES, Works Approval Application or draft Planning Scheme Amendment.

How to make a submission

Read the EES

The EES is available on North East Link Project.

You can also find the EES on display at public locations including:

  • Council offices in Banyule, Boroondara, Manningham, Whitehorse and Yarra City
  • Local libraries including Balwyn, Bulleen, Camberwell, Diamond Valley, Doncaster, Eltham, Ivanhoe, Kew, Lalor, Mill Park, Rosanna, Thomastown and Whittlesea and Hawthorn Arts Centre
  • North East Link’s Watsonia Community Information Hub at 17 Watsonia Road, Watsonia
  • State Library of Victoria.

Due to space requirements, the full EES is not available at all locations.

In addition to displaying the EES at the locations above, we are holding information sessions across the project area. You’ll be able to view the EES, talk to technical specialists and ask questions.

Need a copy of the EES?

Free copies of the EES are available on a USB at display locations, at information sessions or by contacting us on 1800 105 105 or community@northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Hard copies are available for purchase on request.

Make your submission

Submissions must be made to Planning Panels Victoria by 5pm Friday 7 June 2019.

Online submissions are preferred and can be made at Engage Victoria.

If you can’t make your submission online and need to submit in hard copy, you must include a coversheet. Coversheets are available by contacting the DELWP customer service centre on 136 186.

All submissions must include a name and a postal address, are treated as public documents and will be posted on Engage Victoria.

If you would like to have an opportunity to speak at the hearing, you must make this request when you lodge your written submission.

You must make your submission directly to Planning Panels Victoria. The North East Link Project cannot accept submissions.

Next steps

The EES will be on public exhibition for 40 business days.

Once submissions close, an independent inquiry and advisory committee appointed by the Minister for Planning will review all submissions.

This will be followed by a public hearing of submissions, likely to begin late July 2019.

A public Directions Hearing will be held on 21 June 2019 to make arrangements for and answer questions about the public hearings. Details of the public hearings will then be published on Engage Victoria.

After the public hearings, the inquiry and advisory committee will prepare a report with recommendations for the Minister for Planning.

The Minister will then make an assessment of the environmental effects. The assessment may conclude that the project:

  • Will have acceptable environmental effects
  • Will have unacceptable environmental effects
  • Needs modifications to or additional Environmental Performance Requirements to achieve acceptable outcomes.

The Minister’s assessment will inform other government decision makers on the approvals required for North East Link to proceed.

Key steps in the EES process

2018

  • 2 February: Minister decides an EES is required. We begin preparing the EES.
  • 24 June: Minister issues Final Scoping Requirements.

2019

  • 10 April: EES, draft PSA and WAA go on display.
  • 7 June: Submissions close.
  • 21 June: Directions hearing.
  • Late July: Public hearing starts.
  • Late 2019: Inquiry and advisory committee makes recommendations to the Planning Minister.
  • Late 2019: Planning approvals following Minister's assessment

Commonwealth approvals

In addition to the EES process in Victoria, there are opportunities for you to have your views considered in Commonwealth approvals for North East Link.

Commonwealth approvals are being assessed by the Australian Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The EPBC Act protects and manages matters of national environmental significance, such as federally listed threatened species and communities, migratory species and environment on Commonwealth land.

A draft Public Environment Report (PER) to assess potential impacts on these matters and outline management approaches has been prepared and will be on display for public comment from late April to May 2019.